“Vaccine opponents’ blood can be very dangerous,” the doctor asserts, and then points out the numerous advantages of vaccinations. After the vampire father asks if parents who do not vaccinate their kids “don’t want them to be bitten [by vampires],” the doctor agrees, positing that it would be a logical explanation.
“Yes, perhaps it’s the only explicable reason,” he says.
Representatives for the Moscow health agency told the state-run RIA Novosti news agency that they wanted to use “humor” and “an unconventional approach” to inform the public about the benefits of vaccines. “When communicating with Muscovites, we stepped away from complicated medical terms and bureaucratic structures, and are speaking with the residents in one language,” they said.
Nearly 50 percent of Russian children born in 2016 were not fully vaccinated according to the medically prescribed schedule, The Moscow Times reported in 2018, citing a report by the Federal Center of Hygiene and Epidemiology. This reality has led medical experts to warn that Russia will struggle to maintain so-called herd immunity, which prevents major virus outbreaks. Similar issues have occurred in the U.S., as many parents have been led to believe that vaccinations are harmful to their children.
Notably, Russian trolls and bots appear to be part of the reason that misinformation about vaccinations has circulated online. Foreign Policy reported in April on a study conducted by Professor David Broniatowski at George Washington University, which examined 2 million tweets from 2014 to 2017. It noted that Russian accounts were significantly more likely to tweet about concerns surrounding vaccinations than other Twitter users.
Some of the accounts promoted vaccination as the right choice for parents, while others tweeted false information and conspiracy theories regarding vital inoculations. The research concluded that the Russians were attempting to sow discord and confusion about the issue, using it as part of a broader effort to divide American society.
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